April 11, 2012: prison overcrowding; birth control; immigration
Control overcrowding by paroling inmates
The problem with the West Virginia prison population is a bunch of uneducated, overpaid state employees.
The prison-overcrowding problem stems from prison officials not doing their jobs correctly.
When prisons allow prisoners to see the parole board, that means its time to parole the prisoners. The parole board members continue to deny the same prisoners for parole, over and over. This is bottlenecking the West Virginia prison system, which causes overcrowding.
It's sad that the governor has to request out-of-state agencies to come and figure out the problem for the West Virginia Division of Corrections.
Common sense tells us how to correct this problem with overcrowding in the prison system: Parole them, problem solved.
Sanders E. Brown Jr.
Leave birth-control decisions to women
I would like to comment on the growing antagonism to birth control in our government.
As an older woman in my 70's, I can remember the days when birth control was difficult to obtain. Many doctors did not prescribe birth control to unmarried women. One had to depend on condoms, which were not as universally available as they are now. I can remember when the pill changed everything. Indeed, it marked the end of the baby boom.
For a woman, control of her fertility is basic. If she wants or needs to work, if she wants to go to school, if she simply wants a space between babies, if she has health issues, if she has completed her family, if she really doesn't want to be a mother -- birth control can change her life. Educating women improves the health, education and food security of third- world countries. Attacking birth control, or making it the privilege only of those who can afford to pay full cost privately, will seriously cut into women's participation in the world.
Birth control is good for the family as well. Having babies too close together is hard on a woman's health as well as on the health of the children. Having a smaller family makes it possible to educate all the children and give them a better chance to thrive in the 21st century.
The population of the Earth passed 7 billion this fall. This is more than the Earth can support at the level the developed world lives, and at the level that the developing world would like to reach. Imagine what would happen if all women had to cope with their full fertility -- the population would increase at an even faster rate.
Women have always wanted to control their fertility. American Indians spaced out their children and had small families so that they would not over use the resources of their environment. Unbridled fertility is hard on women's health and welfare, and hard on the environment.
We need birth control to be available. If a family belongs to a religion that demands uncontrolled fertility, that is their choice. That choice should not be forced on the rest of the population.
European Americans are the illegals
When I hear people opposed to immigration, I'm always frustrated.
American Indians were here when others arrived. African-Americans were forced immigrants. Others came because they wanted religious, economic, etc., freedom.
Many Americans either don't know their family history. There is a Hispanic face on illegal immigration, but we overlook the European illegals, especially Irish.
Many West Virginians' forefathers were indentured servants who escaped into the hills without fulfilling their financial obligations.
Either through wars or theft, we took land that belonged to Mexico, and many of those people of color are the face of illegals. Their forefathers were here before the Europeans.
We are the others, not them. Please learn your history, Americans.
Joan Porter Green